Techniques > Navigational Questions & Answers

On Latitude & Longitude: why the confusion?

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Hugh Westacott:
Moonman wrote:

<The Earth is not flat: maps are. One needs to be able to imagine his place in Space-Time, & refer his map to that, not vice versa. The real map is in one's Noticing & Recollecting the surroundings, the nominal map is on paper or in a computer programme. Very handy to study before going, but inattention to surroundings can lead to one being misled by the map.>

I read your posts with interest, Moonman. I'm not clever or well enough informed to follow the mathematical discussions between you and the noble captain, but I am intrigued by your metaphysical view of the world. It seems to me that when we are considering maps that are used by walkers, artificial grids, such as the British National Grid, are far superior to latitude and longitude because they are much easier to use and they facilitate the use of romers.

The concept that the real map lies within one's head does not work for a pedestrian fellow like myself. Last week, I spent some time checking the condition of the public rights of way in three parishes in North Buckinghamshire (for our overseas members a cvil parish is the smallest local government unit in England and Wales and may be described as comprising a village and the land in the immediate vicinity). These three parishes contain a total twenty miles of public paths that form a dense interlocking network that crosses numerous irregularly shaped small fields. Many of these paths, although waymarked at the field boundaries, are little-used and are not always visible on the ground. To complicate matters even further, the terrain over which these paths run is predominately flat so, in most cases, it is only possible to see as far as the hedges that enclose the field.

In such circumstances, I find it impossible to carry in my head sufficient information to enable me to navigate more than two fields ahead without consulting the map. Moreover, some paths run diagonally across a field and then divide into two routes in the middle of the field. As far as I'm concerned, the map is a representation of the real world as it existed at the time of the survey.

Thank heaven for accurate maps and the micronavigation techniques that allow me to follow the paths accurately.

Hugh

Lost Soul:
Moonman wrote:

<The Earth is not flat: maps are. One needs to be able to imagine his place in Space-Time, & refer his map to that, not vice versa. The real map is in one's Noticing & Recollecting the surroundings, the nominal map is on paper or in a computer programme. Very handy to study before going, but inattention to surroundings can lead to one being misled by the map.>


Put simply, study the map before you set off.  Memorise any prominent markers / features you should encounter on your way and always read the ground to the map, not the other way around.  Oh and make sure you are continually reading ground to map.

MoonMan:
Hugh,I did not say don't use a map. My point is that many folk do get lost,with or without a map,because they do not make the connection between Here,which is where they are on the ground,& There,whether it be where they set out from or where they set off to. I posit that by lo looking at the world in 3D, {Space-Time} on a globe,relative to the Sun, Moon, & Stars, along with the motion of shadows [all of this is from making sundials], rather than wandering about detached from these factors, it ought to be less likely that one become lost. I have had many happy explorations with the compass left in my pocket, the map & knowledge of what to notice being adequate. if one has no map, it is wise to take notes & make one as one goes. The places that I tend to roam in have only the track in, the rest is finding a way. AGAIN, I say, the tendency to rely upon a gridscape leads one astray in places where grids do not exist. As in "thinking outside of the box": there is no box. Here is where you are, what is the Distance & Direction of There? Polar coordinates. House number ##, XYZ street: route ordinate; AB 12 CD: grid coordinates. Triangulation, used to make maps, & to locate position on maps. Used to make a mental map of one's journey.
Lost Soul has got it.

Lyle Brotherton:
For the benefit of general forum members and visitors to this community.

Whilst Moonman's opinions are interesting, you should never venture into the great outdoors WITHOUT a map and compass unless you are absolutely sure of the weather forecast and have both a comprehensive knowledge of the area and detailed understanding of the hazards therein.

Lyle Brotherton:
Sounds great Lost Soul, I share a similar passion for hops, barley and malt, especially when all mixed with yeast ;)

For last month's Trail Magazine (Sept 2013) I met up with their highly competent Editor, Simon Ingram, and great photographer, Tom Bailey - both thoroughly decent blokes too :) As they too share this passion for the aforementioned ingredients when mixed and they have created an inspirational beer trail in the northern Lakes, in England.

I will ask their permission to publish it here and would strongly encourage others to dedicate time to creating and sharing beer trails for their local areas :)

I have started working on one for the Scottish Borders which will include the ales from the excellent micro-brewery at Ancrum!

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